Top 10 of Everything: Arts and Entertainment

May 8, 2016 – 05:26 pm

top10-fictionA graphic novel set in a mythical time when the world is still young, about a man from the North Pole who travels to the South Pole, where he meets a woman. They fall in love, only to discover that because they’re from different poles they repel each other magnetically and therefore can never touch. (Never mind that opposed magnetic poles actually attract each other, just go with it.) To fill the void between them they spin stories—fantastical, funny, wise, often touching yarns, which Greenberg both tells and illustrates with warm, whimsical beauty. We get to listen in. —Lev Grossman

9. Lexicon, Max Barry

Secret societies are thick on the ground in fiction these days, but Barry has founded one of the most intriguing yet: the Poets, a shadowy group that has so mastered the art of persuasion that normal people have no choice but to do exactly what they say.top10-fiction Told with infectious humor from two points of view, one Poet and one non-, Lexicon starts at top speed and never slows down. It’s unquestionably the year’s smartest thriller. —Lev Grossman

8. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer

Five oddball teenagers at an artsy summer camp become friends, and they decide to call their little group The Interestings. Summer ends, but life keeps going, and Wolitzer keeps on following the five into their various futures.top10-fiction The years and decades roll forward and their ambitions and crushes and jealousies and flaws mold their lives into strange, imperfect, unexpected shapes — one becomes a therapist; the other, the creator of a wildly successful cartoon; another, a fugitive from justice. Wolitzer’s novelistic vision is so broad that it embraces the entire tapestry of their interwoven fates, and her glorious novelistic intelligence maps the complex five-way bonds between them with magnificent precision. —Lev Grossman

7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

Slender but exceedingly deep, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the story of a little boy in mid-century rural England who is accidentally drawn into a struggle between an evil spirit who’s trying to take up residence on Earth and his neighbors, the Hempstocks, who are much more powerful and less human than they appear.top10-fiction It’s a strange and beautiful and frightening fairy tale; it’s also the master fantasist’s most emotionally raw, personal novel to date. —Lev Grossman

6. NOS4A2, Joe Hill

It takes a deep and thorough knowledge of the human soul to frighten properly, and the depth of Hill’s knowledge is fully apparent here. NOS4A2 is the license plate of the Rolls-Royce Wraith in which the book’s villain abducts children and takes them to a thoroughly demonic theme-park world called Christmasland; it falls to Vic, a woman with a curious gift for finding things, to stop him. This is a horror novel, no mistake, and a searingly, upsettingly scary one, but it’s also a rich study of human evil and a lavish display of raw writing talent. —Lev Grossman

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